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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Bhaktivinoda Thakura > Bhaktivinoda Vani Vaibhava > Bhaktivinoda Vani Vaibhava Part 1 > Vedic Literature


Vedic Literature


1.Which are the principal sastras?


The eleven Upanisads: Isa, Kena, Katha, Prasna, Mundaka, Mandukya, Taittiriya, Aitareya, Chandogya, Brhad-dranyaka, and Svetasvatara, which are the crest jewel of the Vedas, as well as the Brahma-sutra [Vedanta-sutra], which consists of four chapters and sixteen divisions, are the principal sastras among all sastras.(Caitanya-caritamrta Adi 7/108)


2.Is the purpose of the Vedas to attain Brahman?


The Upanisads, the Brahma-sutra, and the Bhagavad-gita are pure devotional literature. According to necessity, discussions about karma, jhdna, mukti, and Brahman are found at particular places, but in the conclusion, nothing other than pure devotional service has been instructed. (Bhagavad-gita introduction)


3.Are the Atharva-veda and Brhad-dranyaka Upanisad modern? What is Jaimini's conclusion?


The Rg, Sama, and Yajur Vedas are the most widely respected. The Mundaka Upanisad states: tasmad rcah sama yajumsi, "The mantras of the Rg, Sama, and Yajur Vedas emanated from the Supreme Lord." It seems that all the ancient verses were compiled in these three Vedas. However, we cannot neglect the Atharva Veda or consider it modern. In the Brhad-aranyaka Upanisad (4.5.11) the following verse is found:


asya mahato bhutasya nisvasitam etad yad rg-vedo yajur-vedah sdma-vedo 'tharvdhgirasa itihdsah purdnam vidya upanisadah slokah sutrdnyanuvydkhydndnyasyai vaitdni sarvdni nisvasitani


"The Rg, Yajur, Sama, and Atharva Vedas, the Itihasas or histories, the Puranas, the Upanisads, the slokas or mantras chanted by the brahmanas, the sutras or Vedic statements, vidya or transcendental knowledge, and the explanations of the sutras and mantras are all emanations from the breathing of the great Personality of Godhead."


The Brhad-aranyaka cannot be considered modern, because it was composed before the writings of Vyasadeva. The above-mentioned verse describes that the Itihasas and Puranas, which are both Vedic literature, contain ancient topics similar to those found in the Vedas.Jaimini Rsi presented arguments to establish that the Vedas are for the eternal benefit of the neophytes. Swanlike personalities should accept the purport of-swanlike Jaimini's teachings. The purport of his teachings is as follows: All truths discovered are related to the Supreme Lord and are therefore eternal.Those who describe the Vedic truths as temporary by citing the examples of kikata (low-class residents of the province of Gaya, Bihar, mentioned in the Rg Veda 3.53.14), naicasaka (low-class persons, mentioned in the same verse), and pramahgada (low-class sons of money lenders, also mentioned in the same verse) are not aspiring to understand the truth. This is Jaimini's conclusion.(Sri Krsna-samhitd introduction)


4. What have the acaryas accepted as Vedic literature?


The dcdryas have accepted the following as Vedic literature: eleven Upanisads (Isa, Kena, Katha, Prasna, Mundaka, Mandukya, Taittiriya, Aitareya, Chandogya, Brhad-aranyaka, and Svetasvatara), which are full of spiritual knowledge; a few tdpanls (such as Gopdla-tdpani and Nrsimha-tdpani), which help one to worship the Lord; and the four Vedas (Rg, Sama, Yajur, and Atharva), which are divided into brahmanas and mahgalas. Since these scriptures have been received through disciplic succession, they are authentic Vedic literature.

(Jaiva Dharma Chapter 13)